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Introduction to the Special Issue on Psychology and Property

5 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2009  

Jeremy A. Blumenthal

Syracuse University - College of Law

Date Written: January 29, 2009


I briefly introduce a Special Issue on the psychological study of property law, theory, and doctrine. The Issue builds on a 2008 Panel at the annual American Psychology/Law Society Conference that brought together legal academics, psychologists, and policy-makers working at the crossroads of psychology and property. Our goal is to lay the groundwork for a mutually beneficial relationship between legal psychologists and property scholars. In this Introduction I preview the Issue's four Articles, which review or present original empirical research in four areas: the psychology of "home;" intuitions about first possession and ownership; how individuals see property rights in art; and whether notions of ownership rights change simply because of how "property" is defined. Our goal is to prompt empirical research in four broad areas with implications for property law, theory, and policy: (1) What benefits emerge from a psychological view of property law, and what questions can the law give to empirical researchers? (2) Does property law reflect lay intuitions, and does empirical research support black-letter law? (3) Are views of property and ownership innate? (4) Are those views malleable; if so, with what policy implications?

Keywords: property, psychology, empirical legal studies, instinct, possession

Suggested Citation

Blumenthal, Jeremy A., Introduction to the Special Issue on Psychology and Property (January 29, 2009). Tulane Law Review, Vol. 83, 2009. Available at SSRN:

Jeremy A. Blumenthal (Contact Author)

Syracuse University - College of Law ( email )

Syracuse, NY 13244-1030
United States
315-443-2083 (Phone)
315-443-5394 (Fax)

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